Brooke Boney's one wish for all non-Indigenous Australians
She wants other Australians to look up their family history. She apparently thinks that will change attitudes. I have looked up my family history and it has indeed affected my attitudes. I am amazed and proud at how quickly they brought civilization to Australia.
She says that Aborigines have not ceded title to Australia. But they did not have to. Title to Australia was gained by right of conquest. If that right is of no consequence we should ask the English to go back to Germany, which is where they came from around 500AD. And all Arabs should certainly be ejected from Palestine
Before she studied journalism, Today reporter Brooke Boney would often read inaccurate stories about Indigenous Australians, or ones that failed to include their perspective.
Even now, Boney, who made history last year when she became commercial breakfast television's first Indigenous star, said she faced a "big uproar" from the public when she did give the Indigenous perspective on topics.
At an event to mark NAIDOC's week at Sydney's Botanic Gardens on Tuesday, chaired by Boney, Indigenous panellists discussed this year's theme, "Always Was, Always Will Be [Aboriginal land]".
Boney said if she had one wish it would be for non-Indigenous Australians "to go back through their own family history and see how their family has benefited from the oppression of black people."
“If everyone did that, we might have a better chance of moving forward," said Boney, who made headlines in 2019 when she said her family would not be celebrating Australia Day.
Indigenous rights activist Teela Reid said this year's theme recognised that "First Nations people had never ceded sovereignty to this country, to this land and to these waters." And she said non-Indigenous Australians needed to face this difficult and uncomfortable truth.
NAIDOC week was an opportunity to celebrate and embrace Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, said the panellists. But they also called on non-Indigenous Australians to educate themselves about the oldest surviving culture on the earth.
Ms Reid, a Wiradjuri and Wailwan woman, also said there was an obligation for non-Indigenous people to own up to their truth of the history - one of bloodshed - of what "their people did to our ancestors".
"It is also about unfinished business that we have to confront as a nation," she said. "We have to be very mindful, as a nation, that we have not gone on a journey of truth-telling, and that journey would be a dialogue between non-Indigenous and First Nations people."
She said starting these conversations was a difficult process. "That's a sign of maturity. We are not expected to feel good, because the truth is that our history is one of bloodshed. Confronting the truth is an uncomfortable process."